Introductory Offer

The sidewalk has had new granite benches.

We venture out to sit and watch the world walk past. Some converse animatedly. Others walk in trance with perhaps a couple of tons on their shoulder, metaphored by a laptop bag ! Yet others walk in blissful love. Many others walk with children playing pranks and pulling hair.

We sit there and watch the walk. Well aware that when we walk, some others would too. But i insist on sitting there. The bright lights from the store, the brand new bench, and the beautiful people are all worth it.

Right opposite are three clothes stores for children. ‘Pumpkin Patch’, says the one thats right opposite. It has some interesting mannequins. I rejig my memory on which village fair i had spotted similar design. The interesting design catches my eye and i am keen on examining them for sometime.

In quick time, i spot a kid that emerges from beneath the mannequins. She still is talking to the mannequins when i see her first. My eyes twitch like an antler’s ears, at the sound of a rustle. I see two adults at the background.

Parents of the little one. I assume. Oblivious to me or anybody else watching ,they are busy shopping for the little one. Pink frock. Blue Jeans. Shoes. Overalls. They try everything.

Carrying the child to the ‘trial’ room every time they want to try something new ! It must have been some trial. For the kid wasn’t exactly happy with the interruption of ‘play’ with the mannequins.

Later, my wife tells me, that Pumpkin Patch is an international brand for children ! ‘European,’ she says. ‘A pair of jeans for a 3-4 year old can retail at Rs.2000 a piece’. I jump out of my chair ! Two thousand !! Somehow, something doesn’t seem ok. I am unable to put my finger on my exact discomfiture.

Children being introduced to branding & brand preferences at an age when mannequins are looked at as playmates, doesn’t ring the right bell. Perhaps Naomi Klein’s ‘No Logo’ that i am reading now, has come to influence me heavily !

The next door is another children’s store. Its glass window has an announcement : ‘Introductory offer : One for one free’.

“Mamma, look, there is an offer here. Its one for one free. Lets buy the red Romper mamma ! Please…! ” A kid whose introduction to the world cannot be more than a few years implores. His mother takes him in.

We walk away. I walk in silence. ‘Whats on your mind ?’ The wife asks.

My mind races with questions. Have parents paused to take stock of all that they offer to their ‘introductions’ ? I am not so sure.

I decide to keep that discussion for a later date.

‘Whats a Romper?’ i ask. That was on offer, you see !

9 thoughts on “Introductory Offer

  1. Pearl says:


    My son lived in hand-me-downs and clothing/shoes bought from garage sales for the first four or five years of his life.

    I think we do our children a grave disservice when we teach them that price and value are the same.

    The world is changing.


  2. Ms Cris says:

    I used to have a blue romber. Ahh it was such a long time back. Err I realize I am digressing from the point of the post – yup its a prodigal world (mine was a gift, so I am excused). And prodigal kids grow up to become prodigal Fathers and Mothers, the cycle continues. Poor stays poor, rich becomes poor 😀

  3. I had picked up the book, “No Logo” some time back but did not go beyond a few chapters. The effect brands have on us is incredible. All are involved. We pick up Levis’ 501 when other brands provide the same quality. We prefer Reebok & Adidas when other t-shirts would do. I was not introduced to branded clothes as a kid. However, after trying some I got comfortable with them and would probably want my near and dear ones to wear branded clothes.

  4. Ganesh says:

    I think Ms Cris said it right that prodigal children become prodigal parents. Over the period of years we might have grown up not being brand conscious but now that we have the money to buy branded clothes we pass on the same mindset to our children.

    I don’t exactly think that there is a dilution in the values which our parents passed on to us. It is simply that we want our children to be better than what we were.

    Kavi I’m sure even you would agree that our parents would have curtailed spending on their own clothing and bought us the best clothes.

  5. Sigh. How successful, businesses have become in making us into a consumerist society, to suit their profits….

    No child is aware of brands till you introduce them. But every child observes and learns.

    I too have observed , mouth agape, as parents routinely buy little kids outfit(s) worth 2,500, for no particular reason other than keeping up with other folks.

    These days its called globalization.

  6. manuscrypts says:

    value of money, value for money… lessons will be time ..meanwhile have left something for you at my place 🙂

  7. Kavi says:

    Pearl : ‘I think we do our children a grave disservice when we teach them that price and value are the same’

    That was so very well expressed. I couldnt have said it better !

    ms Cris : Poor stays poor, rich becomes poor !! LOL !! That was cryptic yet so powerful !

    Babu : Yes. We do get comfortable in them, and i guess end up spending a fortune for that comfort. 2.5 K for half a lenght of a jeans was a little too much to me 😉

    Ganesh : Prodigies in the making ! You are right. The only addition i have is that children get used to brands and put a value on things that dont really matter..!

    Ugich : Oh yes..! All that transpires in the name of gloablisation ! Sigh !

    Manu ; Thank you ! Nice to get the award ! Thats some value for this space too !!

  8. dinu says:

    Making Kids brand addicts ?

  9. Shiva says:

    Yeah. In the recent times, I see childern being very choosy about the brand of their dress, toys, food…

    I worried, if simplicity would become extinct in their lives

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